Recently, on a phone call with a participant in my group life-coaching program, I heard myself blurt something out that I wasn’t expecting.
“It’s time to do the thing that scares you the most!”
Now, I know this may seem pretty cliché, especially for a life-coach, so let me explain.
Usually, I encourage my clients to take the next best right step toward the vision they hold for themselves. It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering. It doesn’t need to inspire mortal fear. It doesn’t need to require Herculean effort. Just keep walking forward. One foot in front of the other. I am even known to say “Go for the low-hanging fruit!”
What is low-hanging fruit? It is simple action, that is right in front of us, that isn’t crazy difficult, and doesn’t require us to overcome massive resistance to accomplish it. When we keep reaching for the next low-hanging fruit, we start building momentum, we receive energy from that fruit, and we keep reaching up. Eventually, we realize we are at the top of the tree and can look down on what we have built.
But there also come moments when we are all summoned into big action (which is almost always accompanied by big fear), that isn’t exactly “low hanging fruit.” By the way, “big action” doesn’t necessarily mean that it is complicated action or grandiose. Big action can be simple. It can be a difficult conversation, a phone call that has been put off for years, expressing our love or speaking our unowned truth.
The “bigness” is about the courage it requires of us. The big action that inspires fear is often the one that will have the most impact on our lives.
Over the past year, I have felt deeply called to explore my spirituality. In my coaching practice, I’m also drawn to conversations around consciousness, exploring life challenges through the lens of the soul, of our human condition, the constructs of our mind, and how to find more inner peace and power. I get giddy when I come across a pod-cast with Byron Katie (one of my big ole soul crushes). I’m like a kid on Christmas morning! My whole body is electrified when I watch Marianne Williamson speak, when I read Eckhardt Tolle and Pema Chondron’s words. I want to study with ALL of them. I want to download their understanding and awareness! I can’t get enough.
But this is also the area that holds the biggest fear for me, and I recognize that I have played it pretty safe. I have stayed mostly on the acquiring knowledge plane. I have used that knowledge to help others explore their life choices, and yet, I am afraid to really go there with myself, to really sit with myself, to build a deeper connection with my own intuition and soul because I’m secretly afraid there won’t be much there, that I’m broken somehow, that I am not as deep as I hope I am. I’m ALSO really afraid of the power of that voice, of what will be required of me if I really listen to myself, of what I will be responsible to, and how it will look to others. I will look loony. I will look silly. So, I make excuses. I lead conversations about spirituality without REALLY fully going there with myself, without doing the work. And I know I can only lead others through the depths I have been willing to visit.
The excuses pop up. Of course, my excuses are the manifestation of my BIG fear.
I’ll wait until Levi is older (like when he’s 16).
I’m waaaaay too busy. I don’t have time to do that.
My mortal soul can wait. It’s not the right time.
The truth is, my BIG fear is telling me exactly where I need to go. As I write this, I recall a time a friend who looked her fear square in the face.
She was on her way home on the subway and a young boy ran on frantically, probably around 12 years-old. He was followed by 4-5 other boys, one of them with a hammer. They were screaming at the boy, swinging the hammer precariously. It became increasingly dangerous and these older teenage boys were about to attempt to kill him. No one of the subway was doing anything. You could cut the tension with a knife but everyone was looking away and down. My friend was scared out of her mind, but a voice inside of her said “Step up now.” She started screaming “Leave him alone!”, making a commotion, waving her arms around, pulling the handle of the train, asking others for help.
On a soul level, she knew she couldn’t afford NOT to listen to that voice. One by one, everyone on the train started to stand up with her, to step between these teenagers and the boy. Suddenly, they outnumbered them. They formed a human wall. It was chaotic. It was scary, but they wound up saving a child’s life. Afterwards, she kept wondering what would have happened had she listened to fear? Would he be alive? Would someone else have stood up in her stead? Everyone was so afraid for themselves. She realized there was a force in her that was willing to experience pain, that was willing to risk it all out of love for a stranger. Some may call that a foolish thing to do, to risk your life to help a stranger. But life handed her a moment, her soul spoke and she was summoned, big time, into fear, and she felt she was better because of it.
In that moment, she understood her own power, her deep purpose and how big her voice really was when she used it for love. She understood the meaning of trusting her gut, and she understood that life was giving her what she needed to stretch her heart and her consciousness.
And those moments will never go away. Life will keep handing us opportunities and challenges. It will keep asking us to rise. Our intuition will tell us what we need to do to honor our highest self, and it may very well threaten our feelings of safety. The more we embrace that inevitably, the more free we become.
So, yes, sometimes it is just about your next step. Sometimes it is about donating money to a cause you believe in. Somtimes, it is about posting an article on Facebook or picking up a book. Evolution doesn’t have to be fancy or big or super emotional. It can happen bit by bit in simple and small moments, but there will also be moments where your WHOLE self will be summoned to be courageous, to keep moving forward, even though it feels like your knees might buckle beneath you, even when you feel yourself trembling.
I am seeing the fear and resistance manifest in my spiritual investigation and how my business evolves to mirror that, but for you, it may be showing up differently. Maybe it surfaces while trying to lose weight one more time after failing more times that you can count. It could look like calling your Dad and saying what you need to say, calling a friend who just lost someone, when you have NO idea what to say. It could look like showing up fully for an audition that scares the crap out of you or, in standing up for someone that needs your protection.
So, yes, any action toward your vision is wonderful, but the ones that will have the biggest impact on your growth as a person, are the ones that will require the most of you. Life will whisper to you when it is time to stand up and walk toward the fear. It is your job to listen, to resist distracting yourself, so you can hear the call.
Rock On & Be Well,